If you’ve ever watched television shows about cops, you’ve probably seen clips where people are stopped for DUI. Most of the time, they’re driving down a road or highway. Other times, they’ve just parked their car and are trying to walk into their home. You may also have noticed that, even if you’re not technically driving, you can still be charged with DUI. In fact, you can be charged with DUI if someone simply reports that they saw you operating your vehicle while impaired.
It may seem a bit unfair, but the law is pretty clear. If you are caught operating – or in control – of a vehicle, while impaired, you can be charged with DUI. And, the statute doesn’t say that you have to be caught while driving. It simply says that you can’t operate a motor vehicle while impaired.
If you’ve been arrested and charged for DUI and believe the charges are unfair, you have options. You need to call an experienced DUI lawyer in Atlanta right away. You don’t have a lot of time to prepare prior to your first court date. You don’t want to show up alone. There is just too much at stake.
Here are some situations when you may be arrested for DUI even though you’re not technically driving.
You’re Parked in a Lot and the Keys are in the Ignition
Some people realize that they’re too drunk to drive so they pull off to the side of the road. Or, they pull into a parking lot. They decide to either sleep it off or call someone to come get their car. You may even be in the process of requesting an Uber.
If the police stop you while parked, you can still be charged with DUI. If the keys are in the ignition, you technically have control of the vehicle. The police have no way of knowing whether you intend to drive the car or not. They can’t simply take your word for it. If they did, you could pull off minutes after they leave you. If you did that and killed an innocent motorist, they could be held liable.
If the car is running at the time you’re pulled over, it will be very difficult to avoid a DUI. However, your Atlanta DUI attorney can talk to the prosecutor. If they can prove that you had already called or arranged for a ride, they may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed.
You’ve Pulled into Your Driveway and Are Entering Your Home
This happens more than you may think. A lot of people socialize not too far from their homes. Maybe they went to their favorite local watering hole. Or maybe they were at a party around the corner from their home.
The DUI laws don’t limit drunk driving to people on major roads or highways. If you are driving in any way, shape or form, you can be charged with drunk driving. Often times, the police follow a driver a few blocks before they pull them over. They run your license plate to see if you have outstanding warrants or an active registration before they pull you over.
By the time they actually stop you, there is a chance you’ll have reached your house. You think that, as long as you get inside, they can’t arrest you for DUI. This is not true. If they observed you driving the vehicle, they can still submit you to a field sobriety test and breathalyzer.
You’ve Pulled to the Side of the Road to Sleep it Off
It seems like the responsible thing to do. You notice you’re a bit drunker than you thought. You pull off to the side of the road and decide to take a nap. You figure, by the time you wake up, you’ll be okay to drive.
While you’re dozing off, you hear a rap on your window. The police are stopping to see if you’re okay. They notice the odor of alcohol coming from the car. They have the right to submit you to a field sobriety test. If you are intoxicated, you can be arrested for DUI even if you weren’t technically driving.
The theory is, you somehow drove to the point where the cops found you. Therefore, if you’re drunk now, you must have been drunk when you first drove there. Although it seems unfair, under the law, they can do this.
If this happens to you, call an experienced DUI attorney at Howard & Arca. They can work hard to get your charges reduced or dismissed.